Saturday, February 9, 2019

Dear Wifey

I recently had an interesting assignment in one of my writing groups-"Pretend you’re the opposite gender. Write a honest and heartfelt letter to your spouse."
It got me thinking really hard about the male (opposite gender) perspective and how he might perceive everyday situations.This is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy this “husband’s letter to his wife”.
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Hey Wifey,
I am a man. Raised in a culture where I wasn’t encouraged to express my innermost thoughts and feelings without risking ridicule. I am supposed to be “Macho” and “Stoic” and bottle up deeper emotions unless they’re about Sports/Politics. If I wanted to profess love/grief/despair or something subtler, I am expected to use few words and fewer tears. For too long, Toxic Masculinity has dictated how I should act and talk. Well… no more. Because I’m bigger than that. And you deserve better.
So my dear Wifey, here are some things you should know:
1) You are beyond beautiful. When you parade that new dress you’re secretly worried about. The way you throw your head back and laugh with abandon. When you puke for the tenth time because our child is infesting your uterus. Your loopy drunk voice, your anger in all its glory. From your early morning smile to when you kiss me goodnight. Your beauty is limitless and free. Your face, your hair, your body as it is. How did I get so lucky? And why don’t I tell you this more often?
2) I am an idiot. Sometimes, you have to spell out what you mean. I understand you’re upset, but I’m not always great at knowing why. This is my fault and my fault only. But till I figure it out how to do better, would you tell me exactly why you’re irritated?
3) I’m scared you think I’m incompetent. Housework, taking care of our kids, changing diapers. Now let’s be honest, I will never be as good as you. I may not remember your exact technique for making pasta, or the latest games our kids are into. But here’s a secret- I’m a quick learner! A master of improvisation. Our son will learn that real men share responsibilities and our daughter will see her flawed dad putting in his 100%. So let me mess up the laundry, allow me to cook you a subpar breakfast. At the least, we’ll have funny stories to tell our grandkids some day.
4) I sometimes use your deodorant/conditioner/face cream. What?! I like to look and smell fabulous too!
5) My heart hurts when I see you in pain. Migraines, periods, labor pains. I think you’re a superwoman to go through so much, so often. I wish I could make the cramps and aches go away, but until then - here’s chocolate and all the love in my heart. Also did you want me to order takeout?
6) I can be a Giant Baby when I’m sick. Partly because I have a low tolerance for pain. But mostly because I delight in the attention you give me. I love how you fluff up my pillows, your soft murmuring as I cough up half my lung. And that hot soup you make? Babe, I would conquer the mightiest demons, just for another sip of that soup. But, first let me blow my nose again.
7) I am jealous and petty. My gender has been raised to think we are irreplaceable. So when you gush endlessly about Harvey Specter and Vicky Kaushal, I’m trying so hard to not put my fist in their (handsome) faces. I know you love me and I would probably lose in a fight to those guys, anyway. But, I will be damned if I have to be mature about it. Give me this one, babe.
8 ) I am sensitive, just like you are. I tear up at soppy scenes and sad songs. Words and actions impact me and while I may not always talk about them, but I hurt as deeply as you. If I appear uncaring or gruff, it’s probably because I am scared to show you how fragile I am.
9) Because we’re being honest (please, don’t bring this up in our next fight), I ought to let you know. I notice other women. There, I said it. I have decent peripheral vision and there are attractive women (and if we’re really being honest, MEN) around. But I am not a creep. I don’t stare and lust after them or make them uncomfortable. The color of a woman’s hair, the way she walks, her voice over the phone often reminds me of you. And sometimes, she’s just a pretty face. I am 100% committed to you. You are the queen of my kingdom and the only one who will tolerate my shenanigans. I’d be an idiot to do anything to hurt our relationship. And why would I? You hawt, mama!
10) I can be weirdly silent and secretive on occasion. I’m not having an affair/ hiding a strange disease/connected with the underworld. I’m probably thinking about my sports team or wondering how to get past that level in Mario. And some days, I don’t feel like being an adult. Trust me enough to give me space and I’ll be back to my old self.
Every so often it may feel like we’re drifting apart. Like strangers under the same roof. Much to my dismay, I’ve discovered marriage is hard. I’ve never been more scared or more irritable. Never had to explain myself so much. It sucks and I’m terrified of doing the wrong thing.
But I have faith. In us and the family we’ve created. In our shared joys and inside jokes, our loud fights and whispered apologies. The way your nose twitches, the lilt of your hips when you dance. Oh, I could write songs about your femininity, your passion, your madness.
But instead, I’ll tell you this.
I was merely a man. But after you, I’ve evolved into something Bigger than myself. And Dear Wifey, I have never been happier.
Much Love,
Your Husband.
P.S. - I sense a cough coming on. Do we have soup?



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